American Jerry Bruner and Scotland’s Andrew Oldcorn share the first round lead in the Benahavis Senior Masters after both carded six under par rounds of 65 at La Quinta Golf and Country Club in Spain.
Bruner holed his seven iron second shot from 132 yards on the par four closing hole for an eagle to set the clubhouse target, which was matched by Oldcorn who had six birdies and no bogeys in his round.
Both players had reached the turn in four under par 31 , with Bruner’s only bogey of the day coming on the tenth before a solid run of pars on the way in ended with a birdie on the 17th and the eagle two on the last.
“I hit the ball pretty good and made all the crucial putts today,” said Bruner. “Other than that I just kept it in play and gave myself opportunities.
“The eagle on the last was a nice way to finish. It pitched about a foot short and went straight in, which was great.”
Having finished tied fourth in the Casa Serena Open last month, Bruner is hopeful of another strong performance in Marbella despite not having many pleasant memories of his visit for the inaugural Benahavis Senior Masters 12 months ago.
“I wasn’t well last year as I had an outbreak of hives and had to get an injection from the medics to stop me itching,” he said. “It was a case of just finishing the tournament and I ended it in 48th place so it was nice to start well today.”
Former PGA Championship winner Oldcorn attributed his bogey free round to some good old fashioned hard work on the practice putting green to iron out some flaws that had crept into his stroke.
“I struggled with my putting last week in Cannes so I spent some time working on it last night,” said the 50 year old. “My stroke had become too short and jabby so I worked on taking the putter back further.
“I holed some nice putts out there today including a 40ft plus birdie putt on the fifth so it paid off and I also played nicely today.”
Oldcorn has recorded seven top ten finishes so far this season, including runner up in the Van Lanschot Senior Open where he also benefitted from an impressive start.
“I’ve learned on the Senior Tour, where we only play three rounds, that you need to start well otherwise you have too much to do to catch up,” said Oldcorn, who is eighth in the European Senior Tour Order of Merit. “I had a bit of a dip in the middle of the season after I missed the cut in The Senior Open at Carnoustie which affected me a bit but this is a good start.”
Bruner and Oldcorn have a one stroke advantage over Paraguay’s Angel Franco and Katsuyoshi Tomori of Japan, with American Mike Cunning and Scotland’s Ross Drummond , who began with an eagle on the first hole, a further shot back on four under par.
Carl Mason, who is bidding for a record breaking 24th Senior Tour title, began his defence of the title well with seven birdies in his round of 68 but will be disappointed after bogeying the 16th and 17th holes. He is in a group of four players on three under par which also includes Order of Merit leader Boonchu Ruangkit.
Former Spanish Ryder Cup player Manuel Piñero, who designed La Quinta, opened with a level par round of 71.